2014 was a great year for EDM, as well as for EDM Chicago. As a family, we look back on our favorite albums, biggest musical surprises, huge letdowns, secret guilty pleasures and basically anything else we can think of. Thank you all for visiting the site, liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and spreading the EDM (Chicago) love.

Now up to 2015 as a lot of new albums await us. Get ready to hear from The Prodigy, Madeon, Don Diablo, Zedd, Spor, Flux Pavilion, Jack Ü and Netsky to name a few.

Favorite album: Skrillex – Recess
Favorite track: Madeon – Imperium
Biggest surprise: When iTunes \’accidentally\’ released Knife Party\’s album ahead of time
Huge letdown: Rob Swire\’s honest opinion about working on new Pendulum material
Secret guilty pleasure: David Guetta – Shot me Down (feat. Skylar Grey)

I got to listen too so much amazing music this year that I actually had a hard time keeping up. Choosing my favorite album was most difficult as Skrillex (Recess), Dillon Francis (Money Sucks, Friends Rule) and Knife Party (Abandon Ship) all delivered. In the end I decided to go for \’Recess\’ because it was released last March and never left my phone (maybe a bit unfair, but I have to choose something, right?). With \’Imperium\’ Madeon created a true anthem that serves as the first single from his upcoming album which I have high hopes for. Then of course we had the accidental leak of Knife Party\’s long awaited debut album \’Abandon Ship. If it really was an accident is debatable, but who cares? I was so happy when I could finally hear this masterpiece. I have a lot of respect for what Rob Swire has done over the last years with Pendulum and Knife Party. He never went for the big money. I was however a bit disappointed when he spoke about the upcoming Pendulum album. Not disappointed in his honesty, I just really wanted to hear that new album. My guilty pleasure comes from David Guetta. I think \’Shot me Down\’ is way too commercial, but I still like it.

Favorite album: Porter Robinson – Worlds
Favorite track [at the moment]: 3LAU & Nom De Strip – The Night
Biggest surprise: Dyro\’s label, WOLV, and the content it has pushed thus far.
Huge letdown: No Hardwell or Madeon album until 2015
Secret guilty pleasure: Showtek – FTS (Ridvan Edit)

Being on SoundCloud for hours every day, both looking for new content for the site as well as just browsing, I hear a lot of music. Like, A LOT of music – so narrowing down my favorite material of 2014 proved to be extremely difficult, so I\’d say these are just my favorites for the second half of the year. My favorite album this year was without a doubt, Porter Robinson\’s Worlds. This was such a unique and groundbreaking album for not only Porter, but for the electronic dance scene in general. My favorite track, at the moment, is 3LAU & Nom De Strip\’s upcoming single, \”The Night\”. Taking signature hits from both producers, this song is proving to be a big one, and will be eventually released on Revealed Recordings. The biggest surprise for myself, was Dyro\’s new label, WOLV. His unique taste needed a home of its own, and the tracks pushed out on that label have been beyond fantastic. After hearing rumors and teases, I was really let down when I heard that Hardwell nor Madeon would be releasing albums until 2015. I\’m a huge fan of both of them, however, I can\’t wait until their content comes out. Last but not least, my secret guilty pleasure is a Hardstyle/Melbourne Bounce edit of Showtek\’s FTS, by upcoming producer Ridvan. I\’m not a hardstyle or melbourne listener, but something about this one gets me everytime – it\’s worth a listen, without a doubt.

Favorite album: Dirty South- With You
Favorite track: Galantis- Runaway (U&I)
Biggest surprise: Cazzette- Blind Heart
Huge letdown: Galantis- Runaway (U&I) (Kaskade Remix)
Secret guilty pleasure: Neon Trees- Sleeping With A Friend (The Chainsmokers Remix)

I joined the EDM Chicago team early this year and with that, I dove into a world of music that was beyond what I came in knowing. Since then, I\’ve been surrounded by outstanding music, a lot which I never thought I would have liked. I think 2014 was a great year for releases and a groundbreaking year for artists that sought out change in their production, which brings me to my favorite album of the year. Dirty South\’s album \”With You,\” was very different from his previous work and from what dance music is usually associated with. No, it wasn\’t festival oriented, but I think it was very meaningful and fresh, and something the dance music community needed. But if we\’re talking songs that made me want to dance all night, it was definitely \”Runaway\” by Galantis. This track is by far one of my favorite anthems of the year, and the two continue to get better and better, and I think they\’re going to keep proving themselves. And speaking of this track, the remix Kaskade did was subpar to say the least. Maybe it\’s because I don\’t take to remixes easily, or because I expect so much from Kaskade, but I listened to it once and didn\’t find it worth listening to again. Nonetheless, songs like \”Blind Heart\” by Cazzette kept this part of the year interesting enough. I\’m not the biggest fan of this duo, but Blind Heart got me through finals week. Other honorable mentions include \”Won\’t Look Back\” by Duke Dumont, \”Firestone\” by Kygo, \”Sad Machine\” & \”Lionhearted\” by Porter Robinson, \”EDM Trend Machine\” by Knife Party, \”Faded\” by ZHU, \”Ease My Mind\” by Skrillex, \”Prelude\” by Michael Calfan, Oliver\’s EP, & \”Unholy\” by Wolfgang Gartner.

John C:
Favorite album: Alone Together Vol. 1
Favorite tracks (of the moment): Agents of Time – Polina / Mind Against – Several Times
Biggest surprise: Guy Gerber and Puff Daddy – 11 11
Huge letdown: Tiga – Bugatti feat Pusha T
Secret guilty pleasure: Hanbury St. – Fluevog
Best Party: Paradigm Underground – Seth Troxler and Martinez Brothers at Lacuna

This was my first year with EDM Chicago and it has been a blast since day one. Since starting with the site my focus was to create more of a media presence for Chicago artists and the house and techno genres (with an underground focus). I really enjoy what I do and it has lead to one hell of a 2014 from meeting an incredible amount of people with similar interests (and artists) to experiencing the great music this city has to offer. To kick things off on my album and track selections, my favorite album of the year was Alone Together Vol. 1 from the Pool House Records. This was an easy choice for me. While technically a compilation album, it was a proper transition to releases from a crew that I have an incredible amount of respect for. This post comes shortly after the sad announcement that the Pool House party on Sunday nights are coming to an end so that they can focus on the label. While I am sad to see one of my favorite parties go, I am happy to watch the crew take their music to the next level. Nothing but love for these guys (look for a feature article on the Pool House coming in January). My favorite tracks were hard to narrow down as they are constantly changing but Polina and Several Times were definitely up there for me. Both tracks exceed the expectations of a new track and provide the listener with a sonic journey that you can only close your eyes and dance to. My biggest surprise and huge let down are very closely related. As the \’EDM\’ fame train keeps rolling, artists of various genres are hungry for the action pushing towards cross genre collaborations. To my surprise, Puff Daddy\’s introduction was actually a fairly good album. I was extremely skeptical pre-release (even having previewed some of the tracks prior), but I think it pulled together quite well and represented a proper collaboration. On the other hand, the Push T version of Tiga\’s mega hit Bugatti makes me want to vomit violently. I love the original, but the Pusha T version was garbage. As for my guilty pleasure, we go back to the Alone Together Vol. 1 release from the Pool House and focus on the Hanbury St. release from German label members Fluevog. The Hanbury Street dialogue used in the song can make it seem repetitive for the amount of times I play it, but I still can\’t get enough. It\’s dark. It is an incredibly well done track that draws me in even though I am not always a fan of longer dialogue pieces. This is an example of it being done right and it continually ends up in my recently played list. To anyone who has read my Deeper than a Drop series, my favorite party shouldn\’t be a surprise. Paradigm underground consistently puts on incredible shows and the night they brought Tuskegee to Lacuna has a permanent place in my \’all time\’ favorite shows list.

Favorite album: Haywyre – Two Fold Pt. 1
Favorite track: Vanic – Can\’t Sleep
Biggest surprise: Mt Eden + Blackmill  – One
Huge letdown: Most of Dillon Francis\’ new album ;(
Secret guilty pleasure: ANDRU – ECCO

Hi everyone, I suppose this is my first /proper/ introduction. My name is Noah, I\’m a Freshman (yes, in high school.) This is my third month with EDM Chicago and it\’s been hella cool to write about electronic music and stuff here. It\’s a really meaningful thing to me: I love the scene, I love the music, it\’s one of those things that make me very happy. This year has been really cool, I\’ve been able to meet and talk with a lot of really awesome electronic music artists and attend a few shows, such as the Mad Decent Block Party and the Worlds Tour in Orlando. I spent a lot of this year trying to listen to new kinds of music (such as future bass, chillout, downtempo) and it has been a blast experiencing new styles. They are tremendously better than most of the old music genres I listened to. This year, I can recall a few great artists off the top of my head: Andru, Haywyre, Vanic, Porter Robinson, Flume, AutoLaser, Louis the Child, and more. Some of which are featured in this post. I had such a great time experiencing their music. It\’s been a weird year, I suppose: but I really have enjoyed it. I wonder what kind of cool, wonderful, and dreamy stuff I\’ll find in music next year?

Favorite album: MUST DIE! – Death & Magic
Favorite track: Skrillex – Stranger ft. Killagraham & Sam Dew
Biggest surprise: Krewella break up
Huge letdown: Borgore\’s year in music
Secret guilty pleasure: Katy Perry – Dark Horse (ft. Juicy J)

Wow. What can be said about this incomparable year in music? I am confident that 2014 will go down as a milestone year for the EDM community. Electronic music not only transformed itself but transformed the entire industry itself and penetrated the barriers of mainstream music. My favorite album has to be MUST DIE!\’s Death & Magic. From the first track to the last, I think this album captures the past, present, and future of EDM all in one. Don\’t make the mistake of writing it off as dubstep, because it is so much more. My favorite song changes daily, maybe even hourly, so it\’s pretty much impossible to choose one. However, \”Stanger\” off of Skrillex\’s Recess album is definitely a track that I enjoyed throughout the year since it\’s release. The exotic and dynamic nature of the tune keeps it fresh every time I hear it. It was hard to pick a surprise, because in retrospect everything seems to makes sense, but one event that definitely caught me off guard was the split between the Krewella sisters and beat-maker Kris Trindl. While the trio may have been losing some of their mainstream relevance adopting a more niche-hardstyle influence, I never expected their great success to come to a screeching halt, especially in such a tragic manner. Nonetheless, both parties have the talent to regain traction in the industry and maintain careers, and I hope they do. A similarly depressing letdown for me is definitely some of Borgore\’s output this year. While I still respect him as one of the foundations of modern electronic music, recent tracks like \”Ratchet\” and \”Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse\” are just downright awful. They may be good for a quick laugh, but he has definitely strayed a little too far away from his roots in my opinion. At the same time, I still can still enjoy his signature sound in many other of his releases this year. Let\’s just hope he cuts down on the funny business. Finally, my guilty pleasure is without a doubt Katy Perry\’s \”Dark Horse\”. While this is not explicitly an EDM tune, it is a prime example of the significant influence that trap music has had on the radio. Katy Perry said it herself that this track was the dark horse of her Prism album, but the simultaneous explosion of trap music sent this tune right to the top of the charts. I look forward to continuing to share my love for music with all of you, so here\’s to an even more amazing and unpredictable year in music in 2015!

Favorite album: ToolRoom Live 01
Favorite track: Mark Knight – Your Love (Still #1)
Biggest surprise: The amount of drama Deadmau5 causes
Huge letdown: When Armin Van Buuren cancelled his Chicago show
Secret guilty pleasure: Knife Party – EDM Trend Machine

For someone who is picky about the music that\’s added to my playlist, and honestly believes 90% of the music released in dance music sucks, 2014 was not a complete disappointment. Mark Knight, who can do no wrong, released \”Your Love\” in 2013, but it has gone on to be my favorite song since then. Undeniably, the track is the perfect creation of bangin\’ beats and subtle vocals that tie the whole thing together. But if we\’re talking music that was released this year, ToolRoom Live 01 is by far my favorite album release of this year. To my own surprise, I really liked \”EDM Trend Machine\” by Knife Party, considering I\’ve never been a fan of Gareth and Rob. It was a different sound and something I find worth listening to. There were disappointments this year nonetheless, and  some of them not entirely music-related. I don\’t know if it was just a bad year for deadmau5 or if he just wanted to raise hell in 2014. Was it entertaining? Yes. Did it reach an unnecessary extent? Absolutely. Let\’s hope he cools off a bit in 2015. That, and hopefully Armin van Burren returns to Chicago. His cancelled show earlier this year was by far the most upsetting event. I still cry myself to sleep from time to time. Well, here\’s to a great new year, in and out of the EDM world.

Favorite Album: Porter Robinson – Worlds
Favorite Tracks: Zeds Dead feat. Memorecks – Collapse, Porter Robinson feat. Amy Millan – Divinity, and ODESZA – Kusanagi.
Favorite Event: Bassnectar on Halloween in Peoria, Illinois
Favorite Festival: Electric Forest
Guilty Pleasure: Seven Lions feat. Ellie Goulding – Don\’t Leave

Hello to all! My name is Amir and I\’ve been writing for EDM Chicago since February 2014. During my time here, I\’ve met some great people who I can gladly call my co-writers; I\’ve also been privileged to meet some incredible musicians, including both rising stars and industry giants. Some of my favorite projects include my album premiere and review for ODESZA\’s \”In Return,\” interviewing one of my favorite UK dubstep producers FuntCase, and of course getting a last-minute interview with one of my biggest inspirations Porter Robinson. I\’ve provided the articles in their proper links so check them out! I hope to write about and meet more of my favorite producers in 2015, which will be surely shared to you all. I also started a feature called Friday Freebies and it has gotten positive feedback overall. Chicago has an incredible dance music scene and I\’m grateful to be part of it; it\’s becoming tougher to go to events and seeing the younger fans focus more on drugs and alcohol, but I have faith that 2015 will bring out those who truly love dance music as much as we do. You can still have fun while being safe! All in all, it\’s been a hectic year but I\’m sure 2015 will make up for it!

Favorite Album: Lido – I Love You
Favorite Tracks: RL Grime – Core, MØ – Don\’t Wanna Dance (Phazz Remix), and Mr. Carmack – Reputation.
Favorite Event: Coachella Weekend 1 in Indio, CA
Secret Guilty Pleasure: Hard House – GTA & Juyen Sebulba

As you\’ve probably seen me write in some of my articles, 2014 was by far the biggest year in dance music\’s history. Genres and subgenres are being created by the minute, and listeners all over the world have gotten the chance to participate in the fastest-growing music movement of the current era. One album that truly exemplifies the 2014 vibes to this humble writer was Lido\’s \”I Love You\” EP. Although it only has 4 tracks, this album is the perfect mix of dance aesthetics and actual songwriting. Based heavily in R&B and Jersey Club, Lido\’s production quality has remained a goalmarker for producers everywhere. It tells a story unlike any other heard this year and humanizes a style of music that otherwise lacks the right amount of soul. With the rise in influence of the underground sound, artists like Carmack and Phazz are finding themselves leading the race to the sound of tomorrow. I can only hope that 2015 brings with it even more creativity and outside-the-box thinking. I\’m thrilled to see where this year takes us.